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Volume 29 Issue 2 | October & November 2023

  • Text
  • Thewholenotecom
  • Musical
  • Violin
  • Performing
  • Symphony
  • October
  • November
  • Theatre
  • Orchestra
  • Arts
  • Toronto
With this issue we start a new rhythm of publication -- bimonthly, October, December, February April, June, and August. October/November is a chock-a-block two months for live music, new recordings, and news (not all of it bad). Inside: Christina Petrowska Quilico, collaborative artist honoured; Kate Hennig as Mama Rose; Global Toronto 2023 reviewed; Musical weavings from TaPIR to Xenakis at Esprit; Fidelio headlines an operatic fall; and our 24th annual Blue Pages directory of presenters. This and more.

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continued from page 8 Even if we could have predicted commodity cost increases, there was no way we could predict the supply chain unpredictability and outright shortages that went with them – where even if we did have the money to pay the bill, we had almost no control over when the paper we needed would show up. All of this made reimplementation of regular schedules – crucial for a magazine with a priceless event calendar at its beating heart – very very difficult. And not just for us, I might add. Our printer for the last 28 years was only passing on to us costs that were being passed on to him. Similarly, the owners of the new building we were eagerly waiting to move into, had to wait seven months longer than even their gloomiest predictions for a dozen doors and windows to arrive. And all the while, people we knew, like us, dependent on rented living or work space, or watching interest rates rise as dreaded mortgage renewals loomed, held our collective breath. “Ominous rumblings of a tectonic cultural shift” That’s how one of our writers in this issue, reporting on a recently concluded global conference in town, describes a pervasive feeling of unease within the local music ecosystem. Rumblings is exactly the right word. I was already keeping a list of things to worry about, even before the biggest tremor of the year hit. On my list already were things like the announced collapse of Artscape, long the bastion of affordable space in the city for art and artists in the city. And the collapse of Metroland, parent to 70 community newspapers, putting 650 people out of work, and reducing even further the options for art and music at the community level to reach its potential audiences. And the fact that the organization that put on the aforementioned global conference took to social media, along with several other organizations, to say that they had been completely blindsided by the loss of previously rock-solid funding, at the provincial level, for key performance activities, and might not be able to continue. None of these, though, captured attention within the community niche we occupy in the way the seemingly sudden collapse of the third largest orchestra in the province did. Kitchener’s Waterloo? On September 19, two days before their season was due to open, and three days after rumors had started to circulate, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra (K-WSO) formally announced that they were not only cancelling their season but were closing down altogether. “In recent years KWS has been devastated by an unprecedented rise in costs following the global pandemic,” that first press release stated – a refrain echoed in subsequent statements like the one we gave them space for in this issue, to speak to what has happened from the organization’s point of view. (For them, post-pandemic increases in the cost of performance space topped the list of destabilizing impacts, the way the increase in paper costs did for us.) Same boat syndrome again So once again, as it was in the early days of the pandemic, “we are all in the same boat” is the initial rallying cry, as the community absorbs the impact of this announcement, and others like it. And there’s nothing wrong with that as a starting point. But more important is the rapidity with which its limitations as a rallying cry are being recognized. The adjacent statement from the orchestra speaks of the actions that will need to be taken to “keep the flickering light of our musical arts alive.” The kinds of actions taken will go a long way to determining the longer term outcomes of the situation. So far, encouragingly, these seem to be grassroots and small organizational responses – community initiatives in the face of an institutional failure – a flotilla of small craft and great art, crisscrossing with each other to help help each other out. From many such small beginnings will come the collective strength, perhaps, to try again. Take for example the extraordinary crowd-funding campaign underway, which at time of writing (September 27) has already raised close to 0,000. Of fundamental importance is the fact that, with the full agreement of the organization, control of the crowdfunding campaign and all disbursements from it resides with the musicians, not with the organization. Out of good decisions on how to use the money will come actions that inspire each successive round of hope. Early response The early response of musical organizations in the K-WSO’s immediate catchment area is something to watch too, and early actions augur well. One example only: The Grand Philharmonic Choir’s conductor Mark Vuorinen announced today that the Choir, which was scheduled to use the K-WSO orchestra for their two upcoming fall shows, will draw the musicians for the two shows (via an independent contractor), from exactly the same K-WSO pool. A fitting gesture, given that the K-WSO came into existence to meet the needs of the choir. Our magazine is now on a bimonthly cycle until the end of the season. So I’ll only see you again in this spot in late November. Lots should have happened between now and then. Feel free to reach out. David Perlman can be reached at I am sad and devastated and outraged as I have rarely been in my entire life. The KW Symphony has just filed for bankruptcy. This is absolute tragedy for the players, for the community, and indeed for the cultural life of Canada. My heart is broken. A proud 78 year tradition has come to a tragic end. — Howard Dyck The best case scenario is that the show of support on GoFundMe and the media attention this has attracted will cause donors and governments to reconsider…but we’re certainly not counting on it. The resilience and resolve of the KWS musicians has been truly astonishing, and the outpouring of goodwill from musicians across the country is a big part of what has made that possible. — Robert Fraser, Associate Director, OCSM-OMOSC (The Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians) I have been a musician with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony for the past eight years. When I won the job with the symphony, I essentially gave up all of my teaching and this became my primary source of income …. The musicians are now desperately trying to save our orchestra and a page has been set up. Please consider helping us. If you are not able to give, please consider sharing this email with others who might be able to. — 10 | October & November 2023

After an incredible 78 seasons, we are deeply saddened at the closure of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. The reality of the situation has been very difficult to accept. Like many arts organizations, the Symphony was simply unable to cope with unprecedented rising costs and financial instability. Founded in 1945, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was established to play alongside the Grand Philharmonic Choir. The deep musical roots that run in our region created the perfect place for Music Director Raffi Armenian to turn the amateur orchestra into a professional organization. The auditorium at Centre In The Square was built for the Symphony and is still considered one of Canada’s best music halls. We all hope you’ll help keep the flickering light of our musical arts alive. Whenever and wherever possible, please attend and donate to other local musical talent organizations. With your help, our musicians can continue to nurture and grow their talents here in Waterloo Region and across the country. Thank you for keeping the music alive in our halls and our hearts. We are immensely grateful.

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